Blessing and dressing for village carnival

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Wirksworth has joined Peaks villages for another annual well dressing and carnival celebration this weekend, as the town builds up to the parade on Monday, May 25.

The well blessing of the town’s ten wells symbolises the beginning of celebrations, including a parade at 1pm from Millers Green to Wirksworth Station on Monday.

Believed to have pagan origins, Well Dressings, decorated with natural materials, was adopted by the Christian church to thank God for water and Wirksworth has held the celebration since 1827 when it celebrated the first piped water in the town.

Derbyshire Dales District Council said the true origins of well dressing are “lost in the mists of time”.

A spokesperson said: “Many sources suggest it developed from a pagan custom of making sacrifice to the gods of wells and springs to ensure a supply of fresh water.”

On Saturday, there will be a craft fayre in the Memorial Hall from 10am, the blessing of the wells at 10.45am, crowning of the queen at noon and, for a new addition, the Wirksworth Carnival Skatepark Jamm among numerous other attractions. There will be stalls on the Market Place throughout the weekend.

Wirksworth well dressing, 1926.

Wirksworth well dressing, 1926.

Carnival chair Vicky Beech, said: “It’s been a real team effort. All the hard work will be worth it if we see people enjoying themselves.”

For many the parade will be the highlight, and Vicky said there is no theme, so get on your fancy dress, and there are cash prizes for the best floats.

Find out more at www.wirksworthcarnival.org.